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Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoological Society, the 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that manages the Sacramento Zoo, is seeking an experienced “Primary Bird Keeper”. The Zoo exhibits over 500 specimens representing 150 species on 14 acres in a well-established city park. The Zoo hosts over 500,000 visitors annually. The Sacramento Zoo has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since 1975 and has a strong participation in AZA programs.

Primary Bird Keeper

Position reports to: Director of Animal Care. General supervision is provided by the Supervisor of Birds & Herps.

Position Summary: This one position is a general Full Time “Primary Bird Keeper” at the Sacramento Zoo.  Performs all duties entailed in the husbandry and care of an exotic animal collection at an AZA accredited facility with a specific focus on the Zoo’s mixed avian collection.  Position will work with a co-Primary Bird Keeper in maintaining the “Bird Section” and its overall day-to-day operations at the Zoo.  A successful candidate will have a positive attitude, excellent communication and problem solving skills, work independently at a fast pace and have a great understanding of, and passion for captive exotic avian management in an AZA Zoological setting. Experience with, and willingness to be involved in AZA Species Survival Programs as well as other AZA programs is highly desired.

Position will participate and contribute to any duties and projects as needed to assist the Sacramento Zoo in achieving its overall mission, as well as maintain Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accreditation.  

Specific Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Along with the co-Primary, under direct supervision of the Supervisor of Birds, manage and participate in the planning, operation, decision making and day to day activities of the Bird Section.
  • Work without close supervision. Exercise sound judgment in analyzing emergency situations. Follow all safety guidelines and policies during general duties as well as emergency situations.
  • Preparation of animal diets; feeding and watering animals according to a predetermined schedule.
  • Cleaning, disinfection and maintenance of animal exhibits, holding areas and Zoo grounds.  
  • Operating trucks, tractors and other machinery as necessary.  
  • Capture and restraint of animals (with an avian focus) when necessary for treatment, general husbandry or shipment.
  • Treatment of sick or injured animals as directed by veterinary staff.
  • Maintenance and repair of animal exhibits, cages, shelters and dens.
  • Observation and monitoring of animal behavior and physiology.
  • Submission of detailed written reports concerning animals and condition of assigned area.
  • Provide recommendations concerning diet changes and exhibit modifications which would improve breeding potential, visitor experience and general well-being of the animals.
  • Conduct tours, give animal care demonstrations and other oral presentations to zoo visitors, school groups, potential donors, etc.
  • Supervision, guidance and mentorship of the activities of Keeper-aide volunteers in their tasks as assigned at the Zoo.
  • Must respond per protocols and training to any various array of emergencies, including, but not limited to animal escapes.
  • Perform extensive operant conditioning and training for husbandry and medical purposes.
  • Oversee, create, organize and manage physical and behavioral enrichment activities for section per given day.  
  • Assist Bird Section in general operation of section as needed:
    • Supply oversight, record keeping, data entry, project oversight, pest control, volunteer oversight, communication with other Zoo professionals, seasonal reproduction activities and other duties as dictated.

Qualifications (Knowledge Of):

  • AZA programs, mission, conservation goals and overall operations.
  • Animal biology, nutrition, natural history, behavior and medical health.       
  • General husbandry practices, animal restraint and capture techniques.
  • Animal behavior, common environmental enrichment, and animal training practices.
  • Basic animal first aid and emergency treatment.
  • Safe work practices while in proximity of potentially dangerous animals.
  • Avian behavior, physiology and ecology.
  • Artificial incubation and hand rearing techniques.
  • Modern aviculture techniques and practices in an AZA zoological setting.


  • Make minor repairs and perform general maintenance and light construction utilizing various hand held power tools.
  • Understand and follow written and oral instructions and communicate clearly both verbally and in writing.
  • Be proficient in general computer use including common programs such as Word & Excel. 
  • Familiarity with animal record systems such as ZIMS, ARKS, TRACKS or others.
  • Make oral presentations to groups.
  • Perform general duty labor for extended periods and under adverse weather conditions.
  • Lift, carry and push or pull objects weighing up to fifty (50) pounds.

License or Certificate: Possession of a valid Driver’s License at the time of appointment is required; loss of the License is cause for discipline.  Individuals who do not meet this requirement due to physical disability will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

DisclaimerThis job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by an employee within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities and qualifications required of an employee assigned to this job.

Experience Required

Experience: A minimum of three years previous paid experience as a Zoo Keeper in a Zoological setting required. A minimum of one of those three years (or cumulative of one year within the three) must be focused on avian husbandry. Education: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a degree in Biological Sciences (i.e. Biology, Zoology, and Ecology) or related discipline required. Certain levels of experience may be accepted in lieu of education, pending approval of Zoo Management.

How to Apply

To Apply: Send cover letter and resume to State “BIRD PRIMARY” in the subject line. Submission deadline is end of day Tuesday June 13th, 2017.

Sacramento Zoo
3930 W Land Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95822

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